Following hard after God is a biblical concept that refers to the pursuit of intimacy with the divine. It is a call to seek God with all our hearts, minds, and souls and to make Him the center of our lives. As Christians, we are called to follow Christ, but what does it mean to follow hard after God? In this article, we will explore the meaning of this concept and provide practical tips on how to pursue intimacy with God.
What Does It Mean to Follow Hard After God?
Following hard after God means pursuing intimacy with the divine. It means seeking God with all our hearts, minds, and souls and making Him the center of our lives. It is a call to follow Christ and to live a life that is pleasing to Him. The term “following hard” comes from the book of Psalms, where David writes, “You have said, ‘Seek my face.’ My heart says to you, ‘Your face, Lord, do I seek'” (Psalm 27:8 ESV). This verse expresses David’s desire to seek God’s face, to know Him intimately, and to live in His presence.
The Benefits of Following Hard After God
Following hard after God has many benefits. It brings us closer to God, enables us to know Him more intimately, and transforms our lives. Here are some of the benefits of following hard after God:
- Spiritual Growth: When we follow hard after God, we grow spiritually. We become more like Christ and develop the fruit of the Spirit, which is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22–23).
- Peace and Joy: Following hard after God brings peace and joy into our lives. As we draw closer to God, we experience His peace that surpasses all understanding and His joy which is our strength (Philippians 4:7; Nehemiah 8:10).
- Guidance and Direction: When we follow hard after God, He guides us and directs our paths. He shows us the way we should go and gives us wisdom and discernment (Proverbs 3:5–6).
- Strength and Comfort: Following hard after God gives us strength and comfort in difficult times. When we face trials and challenges, God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1).
- Eternal Life: Following hard after God leads to eternal life. We can have the assurance of salvation and the hope of spending eternity with God in heaven.
How to Follow Hard After God
Following hard after God is not always easy, but it is essential for our spiritual growth and well-being. It is not easy to follow God when we try to do things our way. The Scriptures in Zechariah 4:6 say, “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty.”
Similarly, this is the word of the LORD to you: it is not by power or strength but by the Spirit of God that you can accomplish great things. This reminds us that relying solely on our own abilities will only lead to disappointment and frustration. Instead, we should seek guidance and support from God to overcome challenges and achieve success. Here are some practical tips on how to pursue intimacy with God:
Cultivate a Prayer Life
Prayer is a vital component of following hard after God. It is a way of communicating with God and expressing our love, gratitude, and needs. We can pray anytime, anywhere, and about anything. We can pray alone, with others, or in a group. We should strive to make prayer a daily habit and seek to deepen our prayer life.
Study the Bible
The Bible is God’s word and a source of wisdom, guidance, and truth. We should make reading and studying the Bible a priority and seek to understand its teachings. We can read the Bible alone, with others, or in a group. We can also use devotional materials or attend Bible studies to help us deepen our understanding of God’s word.
Attending church is an essential part of following hard after God. It is a way to worship God, fellowship with other believers, and receive spiritual nourishment. We should make attending church a priority and seek to be involved in a local church community.
Fellowship with Other Believers
Fellowship with other believers is an essential aspect of following hard after God. We need the support, encouragement, and accountability of other believers to help us grow spiritually. We can fellowship with others through small groups, Bible studies, or attending church.
Obedience is a vital component of following hard after God. It is a way of expressing our love for God and honoring Him. We should seek to obey God’s commands and follow His will for our lives.
Serving others is an essential aspect of following hard after God. It is a way of expressing our love for God and demonstrating His love to others. We can serve others in our local church, or community, or through mission trips.
Seek the Leading of the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is our guide, teacher, and comforter. We should seek the leading of the Holy Spirit in our lives and be open to His guidance and direction. We can do this through prayer, reading the Bible, and being sensitive to His leading.
Obstacles to Following Hard After God
Following hard after God is not always easy. There are many obstacles that can hinder our pursuit of intimacy with God. In John 4:24, Jesus says, “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” Romans 8:14–17 says, “For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.” This means that in order to truly worship and have a deep connection with God, we must be guided by the Holy Spirit.
It is through this spiritual guidance that we can experience the fullness of our relationship with God and become His children. However, navigating through the distractions and temptations of the world can make it challenging to stay focused on our pursuit of intimacy with Him.
With the help of the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer, following hard after God becomes easier because it is no longer you who live, but Christ liveth in you, and the life that you now live in the flesh you live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved you and gave himself for you. (Galatians 2:20)
You’re crucified with Christ the very moment you believe and confess Jesus as Lord over your life. And He gives His Spirit to indwell you. It is the presence of the Spirit of God in the life of a believer that makes serving God easier.
Here are some of the obstacles we may face:
- Sin: Sin is a barrier to following hard after God. It separates us from God and hinders our relationship with Him. We need to confess our sins and seek God’s forgiveness to overcome this obstacle.
- Distractions: We live in a world full of distractions. We can be easily distracted by our phones, social media, entertainment, and other things that take our focus away from God. We need to prioritize our time and focus on the things that matter most.
- Busyness: We live in a fast-paced world where we are often busy with work, school, family, and other responsibilities. We need to make time for God and prioritize our relationship with Him.
- Doubt: Doubt can be an obstacle to following hard after God. We may doubt God’s love, goodness, or faithfulness. We need to remember God’s promises and trust in His character to overcome doubt.
- Fear: Fear can also be an obstacle to following hard after God. We may fear failure, rejection, or the unknown. We need to trust in God’s plan for our lives and have faith that He will guide us through any situation.
Despite the obstacles, following God is worth it. Following hard after God allows us to experience a deeper level of intimacy with Him. We can know God more fully and enjoy His presence in our lives. Following hard after God helps us grow spiritually. We can learn more about God’s character, His will for our lives, and how to live according to His standards. Furthermore, following hard after God brings us peace and joy that surpass understanding. We can have a sense of contentment and satisfaction in our lives, regardless of our circumstances. Last but not least, following hard after God gives us purpose and direction in life. We can know God’s plan for our lives and have a sense of fulfillment in serving Him.
Of course, there are many other reasons why you must follow God. He is your Creator, the giver of life, and the forgiver of our sins. We are kept from being consumed by our sins because of His grace and mercy. Therefore, we must follow hard after God for these reasons and many more because He loves us. Moreover, we trust that when we follow Him in this life, in the next one we are guaranteed eternal life in His kingdom.
Conclusion: Following Hard After God
Following hard after God is a lifelong pursuit that requires commitment, discipline, and faith. It is not always easy, but it is worth it. When we pursue intimacy with God, we can experience the benefits of a deeper relationship with Him, spiritual growth, peace, joy, purpose, and eternal life. We should strive to cultivate a prayer life, study the Bible, attend church, fellowship with other believers, practice obedience, serve others, and seek the leading of the Holy Spirit. We should also be aware of the obstacles that can hinder our pursuit of intimacy with God and take steps to overcome them.
I hope this message inspires you. If you’re one of those referred to as “the God chasers, my soul follows hard after thee”, may you find the strength and courage to continue pursuing your spiritual journey with unwavering determination. Remember that the path to enlightenment is not always easy, but the rewards are immeasurable. Stay true to your beliefs and let your soul guide you towards a deeper connection with the divine.
Some Frequently Asked Questions About Following Hard After God
- What does it mean to follow hard after God?
Following hard after God means pursuing intimacy with Him and seeking to know Him more fully through prayer, Bible study, obedience, and fellowship with other believers.
- Why is following hard after God important?
Following hard after God is important because it allows us to experience a deeper level of intimacy with Him, grow spiritually, have peace and joy, find purpose and direction in life, and have the assurance of salvation and eternal life.
- What are some obstacles to following hard after God?
Some obstacles to following hard after God include sin, distractions, busyness, doubt, and fear.
- How can I overcome obstacles to following hard after God?
You can overcome obstacles to following hard after God by confessing your sins, prioritizing your time, trusting in God’s character and promises, and seeking the leading of the Holy Spirit.
- How can I cultivate a deeper relationship with God?
You can cultivate a deeper relationship with God by praying regularly, studying the Bible, attending church, fellowshiping with other believers, practicing obedience, serving others, and seeking the leading of the Holy Spirit.